Pesto Cauliflower Rice with Salmon

cauliflower-pesto-rice-11This easy and flavorful pesto cauliflower rice dish makes the perfect low-carb side. You can eat it with salmon, shrimp, chicken and more. I whipped up some kale basil pesto but you can use ready-made pesto or make your own.

I am currently in love with this pesto cauliflower rice. It’s so flavorful, green and easy– I don’t even miss that it’s not actual rice. I made this for dinner last night, along with some pan seared salmon topped with more pesto and Mr. K gave it two thumbs up. Normally, he’s not a fan of cauliflower rice because he says it’s not filling enough, but there were no complaints this time.
You can buy cauliflower rice. It’s become so popular now that many stores, like Trader Joe’s, offer frozen cauliflower rice. I have a food processor, so I like to just put my florets in there and pulse a few times. I’ve also seen people use a grater to achieve the rice size.
My basil plants didn’t do well in the garden this year. I’m not quite sure why. Last year, they were flourishing, producing far more than we could consumer, so we made a lot of pesto sauce. But this year, none of them grew much and they eventually faded away. For this pesto, I used basil and kale.
I really enjoy making pesto with other greens, like spinach, carrot tops, parsley, etc. It still tastes delicious, but it actually retains its green color longer. When I make just pure basil pesto, it starts to brown as soon as I mix it with something warm. But when you make pesto with other greens, like kale, it tends to stay green much longer.
I recommend making a big batch of this, so you can have leftover cauliflower rice to eat with other meals. If you enjoy cauliflower rice, also check out my garlic parmesan cauliflower rice recipe.

Pesto Cauliflower Rice with Salmon


  • 1 small cauliflower head, cut into small florets
  • 2 cups shredded kale, stems removed
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 cooked salmon fillets (you can grill, bake, or pan sear)


  1. In a food processor, add cauliflower florets. Pulse just a few times until cauliflower become the size of grains of rice.
  2. Add a little olive oil to a large skillet and heat to medium heat over stove top. Add cauliflower rice. Cook until tender, but still a little crisp. Set aside.
  3. In a food processor or blender, add kale, basil, 1/3 cup olive oil, garlic, cheese and walnuts. Blend on high speed until it reaches your desired pesto consistency. It will start out chunky but if you blend for several minutes, it will reach a sauce-like consistency. I did a chunkier version for this recipe. You can see an example of the thinner consistency here.
  4. Scoop out the pesto (reserving about 1/4 of it for the salmon) and add to the cooked cauliflower rice. Stir it into the rice until completely incorporated. Dish out rice and salmon. Add reserved pesto on top of salmon before serving.

All images and content are © Kirbie's Cravings.

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